February 4, 2009


Afghanistan cold shouldered by ministers

Martin Williamson

Afghanistan's winning the World Cricket League Division Three title in Argentina may have sparked euphoria throughout the country but the team are reported to be less than impressed by the reception on their arrival in Kabul. “We were very disappointed that there was no cabinet minister, vice president or president to welcome us home following our extraordinary achievement,” batsman Raees Ahmadzai told BBC. "It shows that they don't like cricket or our team. But we couldn't believe it when we saw people dancing and cheering in the cold weather.''

Another team member absolved President Hamid Karzai - "a big supporter" - of any blame but said ministers should have been present. "This is a big achievement for Afghanistan. But our victory and team belongs to the Afghan people not to ministers.''

A cabinet minister contacted by the BBC said what happened was "regrettable" and that official engagements had prevented them from attending.


Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by Suli on (February 6, 2009, 21:17 GMT)

Well, it doesnt matter about the reception. I am happy ordinary people welcomed the team. What they have done is great. I hope the World Cup would see Afghanistan perform.

Posted by Eng, Haroon on (February 4, 2009, 23:26 GMT)

let me tell every member of cricket team that you guys are our heroes, the heroes and representatives of the whole Afghan nation.your performance in the last three div matches in jersy,tanzania and argentina were no doubt awesome,fabulous,remarkable and world recongnisable.No matters if official receptions and welcome was not exercised on your arivals,let us take it positive and consider it their ignorance towards this game since it is still not known to the old generation.we are all afghans and their is no east,west,north or south differenciations,our strength is our unity and self determination.Cricket is a hope and bright future for the young generation of our country. you are the pioneers of this game and your efforts and performances shall be rememberd with the golden letters in the history of afghanistan sports as well worldwide.We all support you and waiting your another milestone and stonishing history in the coming games of cricket in South Africa very soon.well done afghans

Posted by Spinghar Safi on (February 4, 2009, 13:24 GMT)

Most ministers who are Tajiks in Afghan government hate Pakistan because of Taliban and they think that Cricket is also "Made in Pakistan" so the don't show interest in Afghan cricket team which is really sad.

Cricket is wonderful sport. Politics should stay away from it. whole country is proud what Afghan cricket team has achieved in the last few years!

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Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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